June 22, 2018 / 9:29 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ivory Coast's ICP to ramp up cocoa grinding at two plants

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ABIDJAN, June 22 (Reuters) - Ivory Cocoa Products (ICP) and Eurofind Group plan to begin cocoa grinding at a new 32,000 tonne plant near Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan by 2019, with capacity doubling by 2021, ICP's Managing Director Ismael Al Khalil told Reuters on Friday.

ICP also plans to increase grinding capacity at an existing factory in the southern port city of San Pedro from the current 50,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes by 2021, Al Khalil said.

The expansion will make ICP the fourth-largest grinder in Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, behind Barry Callebaut, Olam and Cargill.

The new plant will mostly produce cocoa butter and cake. By increasing its capacity, it expects to receive tax benefits offered by the government for any increase in capacity, Al Khalil said.

All output from the new plant will be sold to Theobroma, a unit of Swiss-based Ecom Trading.

Ivory Coast is aiming to process domestically half of its cocoa bean production by 2020 in a bid to boost the value of its exports and protect its economy from the volatility of global commodity markets. (Reporting By Ange Aboa; Writing by Aaron Ross; editing by David Evans)

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